Herod Agrippa II

Herod Agrippa II was the son of Herod Agrippa I, the great-grandson of Herod the Great and the brother of Bernice and Drusilla. His father was called Herod and he was called Agrippa. Agrippa was born in A.D. 27 and only 17 when his father was struck down in 44, too young to succeed the throne. Educated at Rome and upon coming of age four years later, emperorClaudius invested Agrippa with the office of superintendent of the Temple of Jerusalem, gave him the tiny kingdom of Chalcis in A.D. 50, later given the tetrarchy of Philip and Lysanias, the area east and NE of the Sea of Galilee and given the title of King. Thereby his land joined the land governed by Festus.

His private life was very extravagant and wasteful, completely lacking in self-restraint. It was in the presence of Herod Agrippa II in A.D. 59 that Paul was brought by Festus and told the story of his conversion.

Then Agrippa said unto Festus, I would also hear the man myself. Tomorrow, said he, you shall hear him. And on the morrow, when Agrippa was come, and Bernice, with great pomp, and was entered into the place of hearing, with the chief captains, and principal men of the city, at Festus' commandment Paul was brought forth. And Festus said, King Agrippa, and all men which are here present with us, you see this man, about whom all the multitude of the Jews have dealt with me, both at Jerusalem, and also here, crying that he ought not to live any longer. But when I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death, and that he himself has appealed to Augustus, I have determined to send him. Of whom I have no certain thing to write unto my lord. Wherefore I have brought him forth before you, and specially before thee, O king Agrippa, that, after examination had, I might have somewhat to write. For it seemed to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him. Then Agrippa said unto Paul, You are permitted to speak for yourself. Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself: I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before you touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews: Especially because I know you to be expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews: wherefore I beseech you to hear me patiently. My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews; Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee. And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead? I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. And I punished them often in every synagogue, and compelled them to blasphemy; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities. Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecute you me? it is hard for you to kick against the pricks. And I said, Who are you, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom you persecute. But rise, and stand upon your feet: for I have appeared unto you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of these things which you have seen, and of those things which I will appear unto you; Delivering you from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send you, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: But showed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me. Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should show light unto the people, and to the Gentiles. And as he thus spoke for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning does make you mad. But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness. For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, believe you the prophets? I know that you believe. Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost you persuade me to be a Christian. And Paul said, I would to God, that not only you, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds. And when he had thus spoken, the king rose up, and the governor, and Bernice, and they that sat with them: And when they were gone aside, they talked between themselves, saying, This man does nothing worthy of death or of bonds. Then said Agrippa unto Festus, This man might have been set at liberty, if he had not appealed unto Caesar.

In the rebellion under Vespasian, Agrippa took part with the Romans, and died, the last of his race at about 100 at the age of seventy and we can surmise, the last King of Israel. Unlike his father, Agrippa was never popular with his subjects.
[291, 377, BD, 380 Acts: 25-26]

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